The Bucks went back and forth with the Magic for four quarters and eventually came out on top 113-110 behind a game-winning shot from Jabari Parker and a game-sealing charge drawn by Khris Middleton. Parker was fantastic on the night, scoring 26 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field and Giannis Antetokounmpo picked up his fifth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds to help lead the Bucks to victory.
While the fast-paced play will garner much of the attention on social media, the Bucks followed Greg Monroe's lead early, as the Bucks center scored 14 points to help Milwaukee take a 31-22 lead after one quarter. After maintaining a lead for much of the second, the Bucks allowed the Magic to go on a 21-6 run and head into halftime trailing by just one, 58-57.
The Magic outscored the Bucks 28-26 in the third quarter, but most Bucks fans won't let that diminish the impact Antetokounmpo and Parker had together in the period. Antetokounmpo put up five points, three rebounds, and five assists in the quarter. Four of those five assists went to Parker, who scored 10 points in the period, none more spectacular than a Parker slam along the baseline in which he continued rising after taking contact:
JABARI PARKER IS STILL GOING UPPPPPP https://t.co/WOUr2BHNHS— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) April 2, 2016
After the game, when asked about Antetokounmpo finding him for that spectacular dunk, Parker said, "Yeah, he did. We find each other, though. It's very important that we play off each other because we're going to hopefully be here for a long time."
Things got very interesting in the fourth quarter as the Bucks went down by as many as six points after four consecutive 3-point baskets, three of them courtesy of Magic rookie Mario Hezonja. Despite Orlando's hot shooting, the Bucks were able to fight their way back into the game and eventually tied the game at 109 with 37.8 seconds left. Tyler Ennis sandwiched a tough floater off the glass and one of two free throws between an Elfrid Payton layup.
While fighting for position with Nikola Vucevic, Monroe committed a foul that sent Vucevic to the line. He made one of two free throws to give the Magic a 110-109 lead before the Bucks called a timeout to advance the basketball to their side of the court with 27 seconds remaining.
Coming out, the Bucks ran THE PLAY (more below), but the Magic were well-prepared and forced Antetokounmpo to keep the basketball. He eventually missed a shot that Monroe rebounded, only to be tied up by Evan Fournier. The jump ball was tipped to Parker, who started posting up Vucevic on the left block before ultimately moving all the way across the lane and laying in a floater off the glass to give the Bucks a 111-110 lead. On defense, Miles Plumlee helped off a handoff and Middleton was able to get in front of Fournier draw a charge in the lane with 4.7 seconds left.
The Magic fouled Ennis, who hit both free throws to give the Bucks a three-point lead. The Magic had the ball with a chance to tie on the game's final possession, but Fournier's heavily-contested three hit the back rim and bounced out to give the Bucks a 113-110 victory.
The Bucks will continue their homestand on Sunday against the Bulls. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.
- Before the game, Scott Skiles compared playing off of Antetokounmpo and giving him a chance to make plays without pressure to "allowing Aaron Rodgers to stay in the pocket and put no pressure on him". We've done it, folks. An Aaron Rodgers comparison for Giannis. We can all go home now.
- With Jerryd Bayless out with a knee hyperextension, Rashad Vaughn started his first NBA game on Friday night against the Magic.
- Ennis and Henson were the first subs with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
- Greivis Vasquez entered with 55.2 left in first quarter.
- After not seeing pre-garbage time minutes for three consecutive games, Johnny O'Bryant saw the floor at the start of the fourth quarter in a one-point game.
- The partnership might not have gotten off to the best start, but Antetokounmpo has become considerably more comfortable finding Monroe in the places he likes to get the ball. He's been noticeably better recently hitting Monroe with the bounce pass on the block and finding Monroe on the elbows.
- The Magic may legitimately not have a single guard that can throw a pocket pass. Oladipo, Payton, and Fournier each had two turnovers in the first quarter, with at least four of those coming on attempted pocket passes.
- Vaughn might not yet understand how to contribute offensively, but he has been much better than I ever thought he would be this season defensively. His hands are very active and I think he has generally good instincts.
- Vasquez running a fastbreak remains a beautiful thing to watch.
- I can't imagine a regular occurring sequence becoming more fun for Bucks fans in the next three to five years than Antetokounmpo and Parker sprinting out on a fastbreak.
- With that being said, when Parker gets a few dunks, Antetokounmpo has the tendency to look for Parker a little bit too much. Sometimes, this means he'll fail to make an actual read and just force it to a covered Parker.
- Throughout this season, I have mentioned how much I dislike Parker's tendency to aggressively play the high side while guarding a sideline inbounder. I struggle to think of a worse habit to have defensively. On Friday, Evan Fournier took advantage.
- Tyler Ennis does not move quickly, but every once in a while, he keeps a defender on his hip or his back and patiently drives gets to the rim or makes a nice pass. I have no idea how often he will be able to actually do it, but it can be a useful skill.
- When Parker shares the floor with Miles Plumlee, the Bucks have started to regularly run a pick and roll where Parker catches the ball on the elbow and Plumlee sets a tight screen before rolling to the basket. The second unit defenses that have seen the play regularly seem to have no answer for it. I asked Parker about how comfortable he felt with that play after the game and he said, "Well, it works. As long as he rolls as hard as possible, it prevents the help side from coming in so fast, and I just have to hit him there."
- The Bucks brought back THE PLAY (wiper action for Middleton after inbounding the ball to the block). When asked about it post-game, Kidd said, "No. Khris was a decoy. It was Giannis. We were looking for Giannis and how he would read the defense."
Jabari's been great offensively, but this positioning mistake we've seen before... https://t.co/Ns9pDmRfgI— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) April 2, 2016